In an industry that has yet to level the playing field regarding women’s roles behind the camera, Gloria Calderón Kellett, executive producer and showrunner, continues to break the infamous glass ceilings for Latina women in Hollywood. Most recently, she inked a three year deal with Amazon Studios that makes her the first female Latinx writer and creator to sign an eight-figure contract.
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 13: Norman Lear and Gloria Calderon Kellett of “One Day at a Time”
speak during the Pop TV segment of the 2020 Winter TCA Press Tour at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 13, 2020 in Pasadena, California.
“The Amazon deal starts in June,” Calderón Kellett smiles. “I am so excited. When I met with that team, they just are doing such incredible work for specifically women and people of color like Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Lena Waithe. They support incredible female voices. So, to now be among those names, I’m pinching myself.”
In line with all other Hollywood productions,
One Day At a Time had to postpone production of the remaining last seven episodes until the quarantine ban is lifted. Today, the last filmed episode will air on Pop Network. Initially, Calderón Kellett executive produced the show for Netflix. After three seasons, the show found a new home on Pop. She also served as co-showrunner alongside Mike Royce. Even with the Amazon contract, she will still executive produce the family sitcom of a reimagining of Norman Lear’s 1970s classic.
“How am I handling it?” she laughs. “I mean, one day at a time. We have finished writing the entire season. We have seven episodes ready to shoot once it is safe to return to work. We look forward to that day!”
Over 15 years ago, Calderón Kellett’s began her Hollywood career as an actress. Her agent sent her to audition for the stereotypical roles that included gangbangers’ girlfriends and sisters. Out of frustration, she started focusing on writing stories that were more indicative of who she was as an actress and how she viewed her community. “I’m a first-generation American,” she explains. “My parents came here from another country. Here I am and here’s what I sound like, and I have a master’s degree. I think there’s such a limited point of view about who we are. Certainly, that affects how people are treated. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen how culture change can happen. Obviously, the LGBTQ movement has been huge. I got to see that. I got to see Will and Grace and Ellen and all of that, and then the change it made for gay rights and gay marriage. I was really impacted by that and saw that there was a way to rectify the situation by writing.”
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MAY 04: (L-R) MIke Royce, Gloria Calderon Kellett, Norman Lear and Brent
Miller attend Sony Pictures Television’s Emmy FYC Event 2019 ‘Toast to the Arts’ on May 04, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
After working on major sitcom hits, including
How I Met Your Mother and Rules of Engagement, Norman Lear approached her to create her own story. During pre-production, Calderón Kellett onboarded director Pamela Fryman, director of How I Met Your Mother, who encouraged Calderón Kellett to pivot into directing. To date, she has directed five other shows, which include the new season on Mad About You, in addition to One Day At a Time.
“It was very easy to direct my own show,” she shares. “Unlike a lot of other directors, when you direct at somebody else’s house, your job as the director is to make what’s on the page work. When I would be on my set, if the words don’t work, I can change them because I’m the writer, too. It was incredible. It was so great. When I went to other shows, I would sit with the showrunners and say, ‘listen, I’m here to make your vision work.’”
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – AUGUST 18: Gloria Calderon Kellett attends 32nd Annual Imagen Awards – Inside at
the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on August 18, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.
Calderón Kellett focuses on the following essential steps to help her navigate between each studio production:
Learn as much as you can about your next role. Shadow people in the field you want to work in. This will also help with networking.
Be open to criticism. Just because one person may be negative, doesn’t mean that you’re on the wrong path. If the criticism helps you, adapt it. If it doesn’t, let it go.
Don’t be hard on yourself for not being perfect. No one is perfect. When you pivot to something new, you will face challenges and obstacles. Use them to your advantage to grow and adapt.
“If you’re going try to be an artist,” Calderón Kellett concludes, “that’s one of the things you have to face [rejection]. If you’re trying to monetize your art in any way, you have to get comfortable with the fact that not everyone is going to get it, that you’re going to get a lot of no’s and that’s just part of it. There are the people that crumble under the weight of that and then go on to do something else. That’s okay. Then there are the people that really show the resilience in their dream and double down. For me, that was the path. I was going to find a way. I was hell-bent on making my life as a storyteller in some capacity. It was realizing that if this road was closed, then I had to find an alternate route.”